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AP Top Business News At 11:30 a.m. EDT

As US job market strengthens, many don't feel it
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. unemployment rate has plunged since the start of last year to a five-year low of 6.1 percent. And the July jobs report being released Friday will likely show a sixth straight month of healthy 200,000-plus gains....

US stocks slump as earnings disappoint
NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks slumped Thursday as investors reacted to disappointing corporate earnings reports and assessed the implications of the approaching end to economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve. That stimulus has underpinned gains in the stock market for years. Argentina's stock market plunged after the South American nation defaulted on its debt for the second time in 13 years....

Obama cracks down on labor breaches by contractors
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In an election-year rebuttal to Republicans, President Barack Obama will sign an executive order Thursday requiring federal contractors to give their workers more rights in labor disputes. The move comes one day after House GOP lawmakers voted to sue Obama for allegedly misusing presidential powers....

Target names Pepsi's Cornell as chairman, CEO
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Target is bringing in an outsider as its CEO for the first time as the retailer fights to redefine itself to American shoppers....

Exxon profit surges, but production slips
NEW YORK (AP) -- Exxon Mobil Corp. net income rose 28 percent in the second quarter on a sale of Asian assets and higher oil prices, but oil and gas production slipped 6 percent, disappointing analysts....

Journal Communications, Scripps Co. announce deal
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Journal Communications Inc. of Milwaukee and E.W. Scripps Co. of Cincinnati have agreed to combine their broadcasting operations while spinning off newspaper holdings into a separate public entity....

Sony surprises with first quarter profit
TOKYO (AP) -- Sony Corp. reported a surprise eightfold jump in quarterly profit Thursday as sales got a perk from a cheap yen and its bottom line was helped by gains from selling buildings and its stake in a video-game maker....

Fast food ambitions in China hurt by safety scares
BEIJING (AP) -- Already China's biggest restaurant operator with 4,600 outlets, KFC is pursuing Chinese consumers so avidly it opens two more every day....

Argentina slides into second default as talks fail
NEW YORK (AP) -- The collapse of talks with U.S. creditors sent Argentina into its second debt default in 13 years and raised questions about what comes next for financial markets and the South American nation's staggering economy....

Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.12 percent
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Average U.S. mortgage rates declined slightly this week, hovering near their lows for the year....

Business Video
Captains of industry: Comparing CEO pay and performance
Unemployment by the numbers
Up to the Minute
Journal Communications, Scripps Co. announce deal

Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.12 percent

Target names Pepsi's Cornell as chairman, CEO

Judge orders end to Memphis Kellogg lockout

As US job market strengthens, many don't feel it

Exxon profit surges, but production slips

US jobless aid applications rise to 302,000

MasterCard 2Q profit rises on volume growth

Exxon 2Q profit climbs 28 percent